Philip Yorke, a successful London Lawyer, was appointed Chief Justice of the King's Bench and created Baron Hardwicke in 1733. He served as Lord Chancellor from 1737 until his resignation in 1756 and was created Earl of Hardwicke in 1754. Regarded by his contemporaries as the quintessence of 'Whiggism' he was the eminence grise of successive administrations particularly as the confidant and mentor of the young Henry Pelham, Duke of Newcastle. He amassed a considerable fortune and in 1740 purchased Wimpole Hall from Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689-1741), where he employed Henry Flitcroft to reface the central block of the house and also undertook much internal redecoration. Hardwicke was one of Hudson's most important patrons, and as well as portraits of himself he commissioned portraits of his daughter Elizabeth, before her marriage to Admiral George Anson, of his granddaughter, Lady Amabel Yorke (1755), and also ordered a copy of the artist's portrait of Queen Caroline (1751). Hutton Perkins, whose second daughter, Elizabeth, was the wife of Richard Wood of Hollin Hall, was secretary to the Earl of Hardwicke.
A mezzotint engraving of this portrait type by John Faber, a pair with one of Hardwicke's close friend Archbishop Herring, each engraving with a dedication to the other man, is in the British Museum and is dated 'Augt. 1751(?)'. Hardwicke sat again to the artist for a full-length portrait in Chancellor's robes at the request of Lord Dumfries in 1757 (private collection, England).